Sunday, 30 November 2008

Discovery DVD review

Yorimitsu Miyata, this guy had a unique style, utilising his brakes to the fullest to gain momentum. Riders like this are all over Japan, mm21 spot/yokohama.pic by ec.
I brought this DVD when we went to a flatland only bike store called "cave" in Yohohama, after sessioning the MM21 spot all day, Aki kindly took us there. Where else would you find a flatland only store?
I knew I wouldnt find this DVD anywhere else, and a friend of mine Hanawa Sihimpei is starring on this DVD, so thought i'd buy it. 
The DVD documents mostly underground riders both Am and Pro level, I'd never seen most of the riders apart from Hanawa and Russia so was interesting to me, the trailer looked good online so....
The only thing I didnt like was the music, was almost all Fatboy Slim, but aside from that...
The riding level on this DVD is really good as you's expect, its Japanese. Discovery is made up of four chapters, documenting the scenes in Kobe (how good does the Kobe Docks spot look?), Kyoto, and Osaka (x 2 sections), what you quickly realise is these guys are blessed with marble spots everywhere, amazing!!
Theres a variety of riding styles on here, Nanito Wantanabe has a really solid front wheel style, effortessly throwing forward karl to halfpacker to tea kettle to spinning hitch for example.
Hanawa has improved a lot since I saw him at Gypsy games two years ago, really liked his steam jump to backwards spinning tea kettle.
Russia has a nice flowing section, clearly inspired by Osicka, but nevertheless very impressive. Especially the whiplash to around the bars and back.
My favourite riding comes from Masashi Itano, who? Exactly! I love japan for that, no expectations, then you get blown away. This guy is back wheel buttery, one of the best back wheel combos I've seen in a long time, right foot inside opposite dump truck 360 bike flip to two footed pumping dump truck to turbine xft upside peg wheelie, so effortless, love it!
The DVD also has bonus section which covers the Under 23 contest in Yokohama, contests and jams go on like this all over Japan, and with DVD's like this motivating their scene, you can see why Japan holds the largest concerntration of flatlanders in the world.
If you can get ahold of this DVD, its well worth a couple of viewings.

They dont have my shoe size?

                       Spinning circle k to halfpacker, photo by Pete Hollinger.

Recently I was informed after almost ten years of riding for Adidas, that they can no longer support me, why?...
- The credit crunch? Seems most likely...
-Lack of media coverage?...
They dont have my shoe size, UK size 9. Laughable.
So does that mean I wont be able to buy these shoes now? I love the Comptown ST model shoe,and id ride this shoe whether sponsored by them or not.
I dont know whether to be pissed off or just laugh, but the reasoning is pathetic. After almost ten years of riding for them, thought be worth at least an honest answer. 
Are there any other adidas sponsored riders that are size 9, I wonder....
Do big corporations really care? I dont think so..
Thought id share, might make you laugh :)

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Southsea Skatepark Fundraiser 2 last night

pics by ec. one hell of a surridge 360 /classic southsea bowls.

Deep in the P05, the Durty Block party crew put on the 2nd annual Southsea Skatepark fundraiser at the Havana bar. With the help of the crew and the local skateboard scene the Skatepark has been saved for now, pressures still continue. 
Portsmouth City Council are working with the Skatepark users group to keep the park open, a 2.5 million "myplace" government bid for funding has been applied for, February 2009 is the crunch date.
The group are seeking to find other ways of keeping the park open and generating new interest in the legendary skatepark, one of the most requested things we get asked for, is a beginners mini ramp.
So the Durty Block party crew set this night up purely to raise money for this new beginners mini ramp that will cost five grand.
The previous year the group raised over a thousand pounds, and last nights takings estimated to be about £1.500 will go towards the new ramp.
As always when everyone gets together, it was a messy one, hip hop, drum n bass, funk tunes all night, old school and new school heads getting down on the dancefloor, games of poker to raise money, it was all going on, old school videos documenting the park all night long, good times, thanks to the Dirty Block party crew for raising awareness once more and keeping the park fresh in peoples minds.
Long may nights like this continue. Much respect to the Dirty Block party crew for their hard work.
Support Southsea Skatepark!

Friday, 28 November 2008

Green G Photo exhibition Tokyo October 2008

                                                          green g exhibition,photo by ec.

Whilst myself and Sam Foakes were in Tokyo for the World Circuit finals we were invited to Green G's photo exhibition a small distance from the famous Shinbuya crossing downtown Tokyo.
The concept for the exhibition for the photographic exhibition was so simple, yet amazing conceptually.
"The current prosperity of Japanese flatland scene, is rooted in 6 Japanese riders, York Uno, Takashi Ito, Ryoji Yamamoto, Hiroya Morisaki, Akira Okamura and Kotaro Tanaka, born between 1975 to 1978.
Along with those top 6 riders still greatly contribute to the development of the flatland, "+Next" which stands for for the next generation, the most prominent rider, Youhei "Ucchie" Uchino is featured."
For many flatland is an art and this exhibition I felt enhanced that viewpoint, the Japanese embrace flatland as part of their culture, and Green G did a great job in simplifying such a complicated artform, the exhibition consisted of only 7 images laidout in the middle of the Eastpak store. 
Having only seven images it made the exhibition was easy on the eye and very focussed, one photo of each of the riders, in my eyes by far the standout shot was the capturing of Hiroya's steam whip to timemachine jump, where Hiroya appears to be floating in the air.
Riders such as Simon O'Brien, Michael Steingraber, Mike Sommer, Hiroya Morisaki, Yammer were there the day we went to see the exhibition as well the regular public.

Only in japan can you see something like this, flatland is beautiful. 

To scuff or not? part four

photo: sam foakes, crackpacker twist at the green mile. photo by ec

Is this whole matter a personal thing to your riding? Or can it be looked upon as something more than that?

Terry Adams:
Not personal at all. If I bust a combo with no scuffing I do get stoked. But in no way do I think I will ever be so anal about it that I will change every trick to no scuffing.

Sam Foakes:
For me, pumping has opened up a number of possibilities to progress my riding. It has also enabled me to extend my combos much more than if I didnt pump.
In some cases, it can be used to stabilize a trick, I would say I am definitely guilty of that one, especially in contests. That said I dont think stabilizing pumping is as safe as stabilizing scuffing. When done to excess or without any real purpose (e.g pumping a trick with no intention of using that speed for another trick or switch) i wonder if its worth doing....

Jay Forde:
It is personal, I work on a lot of different styles, rolling, pumping, scuffing, you need to work on all these to be a well rounded rider. I find myself freestyling most of the time with a lot of hustling.

James White:
You could call it progression, In the 80's, I was balancing and hopping the 90's rolling and scuffing, and now I'm pumping. i think its obvious that riding will continue to get more fluid. But every time the new wave comes you think this is it, this is the bomb that cant be beat. YES! Even when I was doing petersons, gumbies, etc kitted out in full factory Skyway gear on my street corner!!! (balancing tricks for those of you werent around in the 80's).

Keelan Philips:
Each rider to their own, as I said if you feel like your going to fall off and you scuff to stabilize then cool, but it technically is less hard than if you didnt scuff, and as I said about my riding, I used to not scuff at all, but as long as I have my own original tricks in a link, no matter how small it may be, I dont mind scuffing somewhere, but if any scuffing does happen, it should be kept minimal! Like if you stabilize yourself then a scuff should do.
I obviously prefer pumping, I think  I can pump just about every trick I can do (I think I was the first doing pumping cliffs -not turbines just helping it move forward and hang fives).

Matthias Dandois:
There is something else, after pumping, its called jumping! You only need one jump to take full speed whether you need more than to pump to get speed. So I think this whole matter is way more than that. No limit!

Justin Miller:
It's not a personal thing. This is how I've rode my whoile life and enjoy how I ride. I'm not going to change most of my tricks and pump it a million times to make a few people happy. I want my own style and tricks.

Chad Johnston:
Yeah, its a personal thing, each person chooses what tricks they want to learn. It defines a riders style to eliminate or use different techniques. I think its cool to do your own thing. More flavours make riding interesting. There are two ways to look at it. If I look at it from an artistic standpoint, I say do whatever you want, especially if its something cool and unique. From a sport standpoint, I believe every position should be isolated and analysed. then, I think you have to take into account that there is a variety of techniques to move on your bike. Some are more technical than others. Some are more popular than others. Some are more popular than others. There should be an objective laid out for all to see.

Cory Fester:
I just look at it like I want to do things as hard as I can. I like the challenge. I do a lot of backwards stuff and that stuff you cant really scuff and pumping it is ridiculous so I dont really have to worry about stuff like that too much. For me doing a 2 minute link with like 5 or 6 switches is boring and easy for the most part, I want to to do 5 or 6 switches in 20 seconds not in 2 minutes. I'll take one really bomb original trick over a generic, flashy 2 minute link anyday.

(article finished..)

Thanks to all the pros that answered my questions, a few didnt get back to me, but I think this is pretty comprehensive as it is. What was interesting to me, was how opinions seem to vary country to country.

any feedback blog readers?

Thursday, 27 November 2008

To scuff or not? part three

photo: Terry Adams on his own riding spot, photo by ec.

Is pumping an extra circle no different than taking a power scuff or worse?

Terry Adams:
I really have no comment on this one. I will like the trick if the person does a power scuff or if they pump a extra circle to set up. Its all impressive to me.

Sam Foakes:
I think pumping an extra circle is the equivalent of a power scuff, but i think it is more graceful to pump a rolling trick than to come out of a rolling trick to scuff and then to go back into it again.

Jay Forde:
It's the same thing I guess, some people cant scuff, some people cant pump.

James White:
How personal do you want to get, this is peoples styles you are messing with, one may make the extra circle look fantastic, another may not. For me the goal would be to keep the speed and flow without any obvious pumps. Matthias is the master of  this!  But is he the master? Foakes power pumps it up like no tommorow... How do you like it? Rough and hard or soft and delicate...its a very personal choice!
To answer the question though, it depends if its done to for that extra time to get a suck on that nipple. They should be marked down if so, but this is just analysing it too much! But thats you all over "E" and we love you for it. Who else would question this?

Keelan Philips: Power scuff is worse, it means you didnt get enough momentum into the trick so you scuff to compensate.

Matthias Dandois:
At a point, pumping is ugly, if you pump too much its boring. So yes, sometimes its worse to pump too much instead of one scuff! For example, in steamroller, three pumps is the limit! hehehe, no more or you die!!! DOG!!

Justin Miller:
Definitely! There is no difference. Whats the difference if someone lands in a backpacker and scuffs the tyre or pumps it. For me to get enough speed pumping a trick I have to pump more than i would to scuff. Each pump is like a scuff to me. It also depends on the person too. I've been giving the tyre a quick scuff or two or years so its no big deal and I can make it look smooth. But lets say I land in the same trick and pump it, I would look like I'm out of control and I would need to pump it longer to get my speed up. I can do it, but it depends on the rider and there style.

Chad Johnston:
Pumping an extra circle is different than taking a power scuff, the riders not touching the tyre. Its a more modern technique.

Cory Fester:
To me its almost the same thing. I think landing into a rolling trick straight to rolling vs.landing on the tyre is harder for sure. I think there is a big difference between catching a trick with one good pump and going vs having to catch it and roll around two or three circles to get your balance and speed.

(part four continues tommorow...)

To scuff or not? part two

photo: shane badman, circle k at the brum jam. photo by dnb chris. shant on geez.

At the highest level during a contest is scuffing the tyre mid link to stablize a trick lessening the degree of difficulty or is it adding another trick?

Terry Adams:
Do I think scuffing the tyre is like touching the ground? (editors note I didnt ask that Terry). Nope. If a rider does an entire combo without scuffing I will recognise it and give them props. But I still enjoy watching people ride that hit their tyre to get speed before the next link. If the tricks are hard, I think the judges shouldnt worry too much about this, no scuffing only pumping so called future of flatland.

Sam Foakes:
It is definitely stabilizing the trick. If you do a switch into a rolling trick then put your foot on the tyre, you are immediately making it easier because you can control the speed and counter act a mistake which may have been made. I think from a judging perspective, when close decisions need to be made, this has to be taken into consideration.

James White:
You can't ask this question without pointing the finger at Justin Miller. He does the most perfect links, dropping original bombs all over the place, then kicks the tyre for no reason, its like taking a big suck on your mothers breast for comfort. I hate it. But then, it works for him to keep it together in a comp. We all know how hard it can be to pull one of your simple links in a contest, let alone what he does time and time again. I could only dream of being as dialled as he is. But to answer the question I would consider a scuff on the tyre the same as dab (touch) on the floor in this circumstance.

Keelan Philips:
Obviously if you scuff to stabilize a trick its not as difficult as without! But contests are a wierd thing, its the same as riding at your normal spot, I think a lot of  riders will throw a scuff in to stabilize at a comp, because they might be a bit off riding if they are nervous, I think if you throw a scuff in to help your riding then cool, but if you did it without then even better.

Matthias Dandois:
Lessening the degree of difficulty of course! I mean, when you are unstable, its so easy to scuff, and really hard to keep both feet on the pegs without touching the tyre. And its much more stylish not to scuff. Check raphael's stubble duck, its like 1000000 more stylish than scuffing stubble duck, and much more harder.

Justin Miller:
This is a hard question to answer, because there are soi many riders out there with different styles and not one is better than the other. It may take away from the difficulty a bit, but its hard to say because I usually give the tyre a kick for speed, not to stabilize myself. Then again, if i have a choice between falling and scuffing the tyre a few times I'll take scuffing. There is no difference though if someone pumps a trick and rolls it a long way to stabilize themselves.

Chad Johnston:
I think its adding another technique to a  position. It could be scuffing, squeaking or gliding. It could behopping or stalling also. The bike is in the same pose, just motored/balanced differently. I dont believe it lessens the degree of difficulty, it actually adds variety.

Cory Fester:
Definitely it lessons the degree of difficulty of the switch, so does having to pump a trick around three circles as well. Going from switch to switch without having either of those things means the switches have to be dialled. I think its a lot harder to dial in the timing of each jump or flip than dialling how to scuff or pump.

To scuff or not? part one of four

photo: phil dolan, pedal five. photo by ec.

Within your own riding, how do you view scuffing the tyre mid link?

Terry Adams: 
With my riding I just pretty much do whatever is fun. Sometimes I like the way a trick looks to have one power scuff instead of jerking my body to pump for speed. I just do what I think looks best most of the time.

Sam Foakes:
I don't scuff mid link at all, I would sooner fall off and often do, haha.

Jay Forde:
I dont have a problem with it, I love all styles of riding, just dont put your foot down, that's the main point.

James White:
A long time ago I remember Lee Musselwhite learning that backwards spinning halfpacker thing. Nine times out of ten, he could get into it and spin it, but just couldnt get out of it. I tried to get him to put his foot on the tyre at the end to slow it down, and pop out of it, Lee point blank refused, I just didnt get it! It took him a lot of hard work and determination to get that trick done. I totally respect him for that, and boy was it worth it! Way ahead of its time! I've always tried to flow and be smooth, maybe not with the same foresight and determination as Lee (I had a life outside of riding!). But I don't think I've touched the tyre for many years. I would rather step off, than touch the tyre!!
But this is a personal thing very similar to the personal choice of brakes or no brakes. I love the look of modern flatland, no brakes, pumping, spinning and flowing. However, I'm going to state that scuffing shouldnt be done. I had a lot of fun scuffing back in the day and as cringy as may sound that what its all about. Freestylin and doing what you enjoy.

Keelan Philips:
I used to be like no scuffing at all, I was like no scuffing looks smoothest and flows, but now I think it doesnt matter if you scuff mid link, in my own riding I put something original of my own in every link, so as long as I got something of my own in a link it doesnt matter if I scuff at all!

Matthias Dandois:
Useless! But i guess sometimes one big scuff is better than two minutes pumping a halfpacker for example.

Justin Miller:
Scuffing is part of my riding. I think its part of my style. I like to get speed out of certain tricks and I think a few quick scuffs looks good.

Chad Johnston:

It's a way to stand on my wheel. I view myself as scuffing friendly. It's cool, as long as it's occasional and not excessive.

Cory Fester:
For me personally I like to go switch to switch with as little time between them as possible. I like the idea of creating enough momentum from the switch itself in order to get to the next trick without having to scuff or pump.

Debate: To scuff or not, that is the question intro

Flatland always goes in cycles of progression, it's the nature of the wheel. Some riders these day are not touching the tyre at all when they ride, and using their body and bike as momentum, on the flip side contest veterans still use the tyre as a matter of stability and speed, the common trick being the halfpacker scuff (aka the circle k).
I wondered is this technique of touching the tyre now considered a mistake at the highest level? Are you taking a break mid link and thus lessening the degree of difficulty? Is this a level everyone should strive for? Or is it just a personal thing?

I interviewed a broad range of pro riders and this is what they had to say.

Effraim Catlow

Flatland Fuel Thanksgiving Sale and Holiday Giveaway

Pat Schoolen at FF is at it again, its that time of year, loads of great offers.

"Happy Thanksgiving  to all our friends and customers!

We have lots of big news here at

The first thing is that is Thanksgiving here in the United States. In the tradition of after thanksgiving sales, we are having a BIG one. 20 percent off EVERYTHING! Just enter the code TURKEY during the checkout process. The discount applies to online orders only. The sale runs from Thursday through Monday. Tell your friends! We have never offered this big of a discount. take advantage of it while you can. Rules and restrictions apply and can be found at
The second piece of news is our annual Holiday Giveaway. This contest is simple, Every order placed between Thanksgiving and New years gets you an entry to the giveaway. We have frames from Colony and Quamen. Parts from Alienation, Thomason, Animal, Eastern, S&M, Profile, Revenge Industries and more. Clothing from Animal, Little Devil and Orchid. DVDs and much more! There is nothing better than free stuff and this is what this is all about. This is a holiday gift to you from flatlandfuel and all of our suppliers.
That last piece of news is the 2009 Flatland calender. This amazing calender was created by Fat Tony Enterprises and features Terry Adams, Martti Kuoppa, Takashi Yamada, Justin Miller, Chad Johnston, Miura Hirokazu, Matt Wilhelm, Chase Gouin, Stephan Cerra, Hiroya Morisaki, Pete Brandt, Matthias Dandois, and Viki Gomez. You can see the entire calender on our website. The calenders are FREE with any order over $50. Because they are soi nice you will probably want to pick up an extra or two and these are only $5.99. Check it out!

Again, happy Thanksgiving to all!

Patrick Schoolen
phone 515-244-0312


Hello flatlanders worldwide.

Flat matters online is born, finally, 6 months after its death in Ride UK. This has come about due to a lack of writing about flatland online and in the media, the sport/artform I love, gets very little love. So heres my contribution towards keeping it alive.
What I hope to achieve with this project, is a creative platform for flatlanders worldwide to write about whatever they wish. There will be debates, contest repos, dvd reviews, interviews, anything goes, its flatland it can go anywhere...
I have faced a few hurdles along the way, but here it is finally, some may remember my blogs from the Ronin days, well im going back, but starting something new.

Enjoy flatland.

Effraim Catlow

welcome to flatmatters online